After a waiting time lengthier than we’re used to in between Abu Dhabi Combat Club events due to the COVID pandemic, the ADCC 2022 finally took place the last weekend. Some things went as expected, others were astonishing, and we were left with a lot to ponder, but nonetheless, we were entertained. Here’s a play-by-play run of the major talking points and a full list of results from the 2022 edition of ADCC.
The Olympics Of Grappling
I know that I am not the only one that is going to take a big break from Netflix for the next couple of months, with so much ADCC 2022 footage to analyze.
We saw some incredible grappling over the weekend in Las Vegas, and one of the things that struck me the most was that a grappling-only event can finally jam-pack a Vegas arena! 14.000 tickets sold and a highly knowledgable audience of grapplers from around the globe. They were treated to incredible fights and what seemed to us in front of the screens as a highly organized event.
The ADCC Hall of Fame ceremony was a very nice touch, which took place on the second day right before the final matches started. It was nice to see some of the grats of ADCC gain recognition for their past efforts, most of which were not beaten until later that night.
Roger Gracie, Dean Lister, Marcelo Garcia, Kyra Gracie, Baret Yoshida, Royler Gracie, Braulio Estima, Ricardo Arona, Mike Kerr, Mario Sperry, and many others are now part of the ADCC Hall of Fame, with Andre Galvao, the man with more ADCC superfight victories than anyone else, the last to be inducted.
What did he fare in the ADCC 2002 superfight? You might already know, but read on for detailed results and analysis.
ADCC 2022 Results and Highlights
The event kick-off had reigning superfight champion Andre Galvao and challenger Gordon Ryan standoff in what seemed like a scene from a movie. Galvao came in a tracksuit, nothing spectacular, waiting to face off against Ryan.
On the other hand, the King appeared in what seemed like an orange prison-style jumpsuit with the top taken off and tied around his waist. Flashes from movies like “The Undisputed”, “Felon”, and every other prison fight flick quickly came to mind, pumping the crowd and thousands of spectators worldwide.
Men’s +99 kg Division
Gordon Ryan defeated Heikki Jussila via submission (RNC)
Roosevelt Sousa defeated Joao Gabriel Rocha via submission (heel hook)
Josh Hansen defeated Vinny Magalhaes via injury
Victor Hugo defeated Dan Manasoiu via points
Felipe Pena defeated Josh Saunders via points
Nick Rodriguez defeated Damon Ramos via points
Haisam Rida defeated Roberto Abreu via submission (armbar)
Max Gimenis defeated Orlando Sanchez via submission (top pressure)
Gordon Ryan defeated Victor Hugo via points
Roosevelt Sousa defeated Haisam Rida via points
Felipe Pena defeated Max Gimenis via submission (RNC)
Nick Rodriguez defeated Josh Hansen via submission (RNC)
Gordon Ryan defeated Roosevelt Sousa via submission (heel hook)
Nick Rodriguez defeated Felipe Pena via points
Gordon Ryan defeated Nick Rodriguez via subm ission (heel hook)
Roosevelt Sousa defeated Felipe Pena via forfeit
Quickly after the face-off with Galvao, it was Ryan that took the stage for the opening match of the ADCC 2002 event. He started off with a rear naked choke victory over Heikki Jussila in the first round before spoiling a chance at a 100 % submission record by beating Victor Hugo on points in the second round. That seemed to spark Ryan as he finished Roosevelt Sousa in 11 seconds via a heel hook to book a spot in the finals.
In a much anticipated final match between Nicky Rodriguez and Gordon Ryan, the King walked away with the victory in his usual effortless style, once again by outside heel hook.
There were not many other big talking points from the heavyweight division outside of Cyborg’s first-round defeat at the hands of debutant Haisam Rida, which he totally deserved, given that Cyborg underestimated Rida and tried to do fancy spinning moves that landed him on the wrong side of an armbar.
Nicky Rod dominated everyone on his way to the finals but had no hope against Ryan, beating a lackluster-looking Felipe Pena along the way.
Men’s -99 kg Division
Elder Cruz defeated Patrick Gaudio via decision
Kaynan Duarte defeated Owen Livesey via points
Craig Jones defeated Joao Costa via submission (Choi Bar shoulder lock)
Kyle Boehm defeated Devhonte Johnson via decision
Vinicius Trator Ferreira defeated Paul Ardila-Ibarra via points
Rafael Lovato Jr. defeated Perttu Tepponen via submission (RNC)
Nicholas Meregali defeated Henrique Ceconi via submission (Kimura)
Yuri Simoes defeated Luke Griffith via decision
Kaynan Duarte defeated Elder Cruz via points
Rafael Lovato Jr. defeated Vinicius Trator Ferreira via points
Craig Jones defeated Kyle Boehm via submission (guillotine choke)
Nicholas Meregali defeated Yuri Simoes via decision
Kaynan Duarte defeated Rafael Lovato Jr. via decision
Craig Jones defeated Nicholas Meregali via decision
Kaynan Duarte defeated Craig Jones via points
Nicholas Meregali defeated Rafael Lovato Jr. via points
The home of the likes of Craig Jones, Nicolas Meragali, Rafel Lovato Jr., Kaynan Duarte, etc., in the ADCC 2022, this division was one many were stoked for. It did not disappoint, both with amazing performances and upsets.
Craig started off on fire, submitting Joao Costa via his signature Choi Bar armlock very quickly in the first round before baiting Kyle Boehm into a very tight arm-in guillotine by “giving away” a double leg takedown in the process.
Many expected Craig Jones and Nicolas Meragali to wrap it up in a final, but the match took place earlier, during the semi-finals, with Craig walking away as the winner of a relatively boring bout, won by decision.
On the other side of the brackets, Kaynana Duarte reigned supreme, taking out Rafael Lovato Jr. in the semi-finals by way of the same lackluster decision victory as the Jones vs. Meragali affair.
The final saw Craig battle Kaynan in a very interesting match, with Kaynan controlling and dominating a seemingly tired Jones throughout the match, pressure passing his guard on several occasions to secure gold via a dominant points victory (11-0), and hand Craig his third consecutive ADCC silver medal.
Meragali earned a bronze medal by defeating a retiring Rafel Lovato Jr. via points for a slick back take in the 3rd place match.
Men’s -88 kg Division
Mattheus Diniz defeated Roberto Dib Frias via points
Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa defeated Santeri Ilius via points
Giancarlo Bodoni defeated Isaque Bahiense via points
Mason Fowler defeated Alexandre De Jesus “Robinho” via submission (guillotine choke)
Eoghan O’Flanagan defeated Xande Ribeiro via points
Pedro Marinho defeated Jay Rodriguez via points
Josh Hinger defeated Tye Ruotolo via points
Vagner Rocha defeated Izaak Michell via decision
Giancarlo Bodoni defeated Matteus Diniz via submission (triangle choke)
Eoghan O’Flanagan defeated Mason Fowler via submission (heel hook)
Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa defeated Josh Hinger via points
Vagner Rocha defeated Pedro Marinho via decision
Giancarlo Bodoni defeated Eoghan O’Flanagan via submission (Estima lock)
Lucas Barbosa defeated Vagner Rocha via decision
Giancarlo Bodoni defeated Lucas Barbosa via submission (RNC)
Vagner Rocha defeated Eoghan O’Flanagan via decision
The upsets division in ADCC 2022 (at least among the men). This is where everything was pretty much open, with too many big names to pick a clear favorite.
The accolades go to Giancarlo Bodoni, the Danaher protege who achieved the same record as teammate Gordon Ryan – three submission wins and one win via points. A dominant performance from the debutant left people stunned, even though it was not totally unexpected. I’d pick his performance against Lucas Hulk Barbosa in the finals as his best of the night.
One of the upsets of the evening was Xhande Ribeiro losing in his first match against debutant Eoghan O’Flanagan. To O’Flanagan’s merit, he did make it to the semis, narrowly losing to Vagner Rocha by referee’s decision.
One of Bodoni’s victims of the night was Matheus Diniz, one of the top seeds in the division, but the biggest upset was definitely Tye Ruotolo’s loss to the always dangerous and experienced Josh Hinge in yet another display of experience over youth and athleticism.
Men’s -77 kg Division
JT Torres defeated Kenta Iwamoto via decision
Mica Galvao defeated Oliver Tazza via points
PJ Barch defeated Tommy Langaker via points
Mateusz Szczecinski defeated William Tackett via submission (straight ankle lLock)
Kade Ruotolo defeated Lachlan Giles via submission (armbar)
Dante Leon defeated Magid Hage via submission (wrist Lock)
Renato Canuto defeated Nicky Ryan via points
Roberto Jimenez defeated Andy Valera via submission (RNC)
PJ Barch defeated JT Torres via points
Kade Ruotolo defeated Roberto Jimenez via submission (foot lock)
Mica Galvao defeated Renato Canuto via submission (armbar)
Dante Leon defeated Mateusz Szczecinski via decision
Kade Ruotolo defeated PJ Barch via submission (armbar)
Mica Galvao defeated Dante Leon via points
Kade Ruotolo defeated Mica Galvao via submission (heel hook)
Dante Leon defeated PJ Barch via decision
In the “fireworks” division of ADCC 2022, there was no favorite – nearly everyone could have won it. The flawless Roger Gracie-like performance of Kade Ruotolo brought the youngest ever ADCC champion his first title. Kade submitted all four of his opponents, beating Mica Galvao in what was easily the most entertaining final of ADCC 2022. He had to overcome some adversity in his semi-final battle with PJ Barch but did so like a true champ!
Where do I begin with the rest? Nicky Ryan, Oliver Taza, Tommy Langaker, Lachlan Giles (Kade’s first victim) all fell in the first round. It was a huge letdown for those (like me) that expected a fireworks match between Canuto and Nicky Champion.
JT Torres was eliminated in the second by PJ Barch, as were Canuto and Roberto Jimenez (Kade’s second victim of the night).
Big shoutout to Dante Leon, who, after losing to Mica Galvao in the Semis, got bronze by defeating PJ Barch, who also had an amazing run.
Men’s -66 kg Division
Shane McNally defeated Garry Tonon via points
Diogo Reis defeated Ashley Williams via points
Gabriel Sousa defeated Ruan Alvarenga via points
Fabricio Andrey defeated Cole Abate via decision
Jeremy Skinner defeated AJ Agazarm via decision
Josh Cisneros defeated Ethan Crelinsten via submission (triangle/armbar)
Diego “Pato” Oliveira defeated Keith Kirkorian via submission (heel hook)
Kennedy Maciel defeated Geo Martinez via submission (RNC)
Diogo Reis defeated Fabricio Andrey via decision
Diego “Pato” Oliveira defeated . Kennedy Maciel via submission (leg lock)
Josh Cisneros defeated Shane McNally via decision
Gabriel Sousa defeated Jeremy Skinner via submission (triangle choke)
Diogo Reis defeated Josh Cisneros via points
Gabriel Sousa defeated Diego “Pato” Oliveira via decision
Diogo Reis defeated Gabriel Sousa via points
Diego “Pato” Oliveira defeated Josh Cisneros via points
Let’s not fool ourselves, when we saw the brackets, most of us expected Garry Tonon to get his first ever ADCC gold. Those hopes were dashed, courtesy of Shane McNally in the first round (albeit at the cost of his knee ligaments, from the looks of it).
The winner was ADCC South American trials winner and debutant Fiogo Reis, who truly fought off his behind to deservedly win the gold medal.
A huge positive surprise was Josh Cisneros, whose Gordon Ryan-like performances that saw him eliminate Ethan Crleinsten in the first round got him to the 3rd place match in which he narrowly lost to Diego “Pato” Oliveira.
Kenedy Maciel beat Geo Martinez in the first round to ensure the “Freakozoid’s” medalless run in the ADCC continues. Aj Agazarm threw another one of his tantrums, refusing to leave the mats in protest after losing to Jeremy Skinner via referee’s decision.
Women’s -60 kg Division
Bianca Basilio defeated Julia Maele via submission (RNC)
Brianna Ste-Marie defeated Elvira Karppinen (Points)
Ffion Davies defeated Adele Fornarino via submission (RNC)
Beatriz Mesquita defeated Mayssa Bastos via points
Brianna Ste-Marie defeated Bianca Basilio via points
Ffion Davies defeated Beatriz Mesquita via points
Ffion Davies defeated Brianna Ste-Marie via points
Beatriz Mesquita defeated Bianca Basilio via submission (RNC)
ADCC 2022 was definitely Ffion Davis’ night. The Welsh grappler beat Adele Fornarino in the first, facing and dominating Bea Mesquita in the second, proving along the way that her last meeting with Bea (when she broke her arm) was not a fluke.
Although we hoped to see defending champion Bianca Basilio rematch Ffion in the finals, Brianne St-Marie had other plans and walked away with the silver.
In what is becoming a very easy match to predict, Bea Mesquite once again beat Bianca Basilio claiming the bronze medal.
Women’s +60 kg Division
Gabi Garcia defeated Nikki Lloyd-Griffiths via submission (armbar)
Amy Campo defeated Elizabeth Clay via points
Rafaela Guedes defeated Eleftheria Christodolou via points
Kendall Reusing defeated Giovanna Jara via submission (guillotine)
Amy Campo defeated Gabi Garcia via points
Rafaela Guedes defeated Kendall Reusing via injury
Amy Campo defeated Rafaela Guedes via points
Gabi Garcia defeated Kendall Reusing via forfeit
This ADCC 2022 division had as much turmoil and upsets as the men’s -88 kg division. The reigning queen Gabi Garcia got dethroned by Amy Campo, who did not stop there but instead won the entire division in a very dominant way.
Gabi ended up with default bronze after Kendall Reusing was carried off as a result of a brutal knee injury in her semi-final bout with Rafaela Guedes.
Men’s Absolute Division
Nick Rodriguez defeated Andy Varela via points
Yuri Simoes defeated Lachlan Giles via points
Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu defeated Elder Cruz via points
Victor Hugo defeated Fabricio Andrey via submission (head and arm choke)
Felipe Pena defeated Roberto Jimenez via points
Tye Ruotolo defeated Pedro Marinho via submission (head and arm choke)
Giancarlo Bodoni defeated Haisam Rida via submission (armbar)
Nicholas Meregali defeated Vinicius “Trator” Ferreira
Yuri Simoes defeated Nick Rodriguez via decision
Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu defeated Victor Hugo via points
Tye Ruotolo defeated Felipe Pena via points
Nicholas Meregali defeated Giancarlo Bodoni via points
Yuri Simoes defeated Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu via points
Nicholas Meregali defeated Tye Ruotolo via decision
Yuri Simoes defeated Nicholas Meregali via points
Tye Ruotolo defeated Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu via forfeit
The absolute division in ADCC 2022 was disappointing. There were some interesting periods in matches, and the odd upset or two, but nothing as major as ADCC 2019’s Lachan Giles performance.
To most grapplers’ surprise, Yuri Simoes is the man to meet Gordon Ryan in the ADCC 2024 superfight, after beating Nick Rodriguez in the opening bout, Cyborg in the semis, and eventually forcing Nicholas Meragali to settle for the silver medal.
Cyborg’s injury meant Tye Ruotolo ended up with bronze. Ruotolo beat Felipe Pena in the first, only to come second to Meragali in the semi-finals.
Roberto Jimenez and Lachlan Giles had disappointing outings, getting eliminated in the first round of the ADCC 2022 absolute division.
The match that was being talked about for years finally happened, and it went the way everybody knew it would, but hope it wouldn’t. Gordon Ryan made Galvao seem like he had given up, giving him a takedown to end up on the ground without too much wrestling.
The King secured top position (half guard) during the first ten minutes and just wore Galvao down. Like clockwork, at the 10-minute mark, he easily passed Galvao’s guard, took his back, and demonstrated step by step the Danaher straight jacket back attack system, eventually forcing Galvao to tap to a rear naked choke in the 17th minute.
It seemed like a walk in the park for the King, and there’s truly nobody left out there to challenge him at this point.
What We Learned from ADCC 2022
There were a lot of important lessons we learned from ADCC 2022, and that is before we get the chance to analyze all the matches in detail. I found the following lessons really obvious and important:
1. People still don’t know leg locks.
Apart from Gordon Ryan’s two pristine far hip Ashi and Outside Ashi Garami finishes via outside heel hook, most other leg entanglements were actually quickly untangled. There was the odd toe hold here and there that was mostly down to luck, and Kade tapped Mica Galvao after the Brazilian literally gifted him a leg, extending it into his Inside Sankaku position.
Look at Gordon. Check again with Danaher’s instructionals. You need a bite on the ankle and hip before thinking about finishing. Read that again. Everyone! e
2. Craig Jones needs a coach.
As impressive as the Aussie is, along with everyone from B-Team, he obviously needs someone to coach him. While his Choi Bar was impressive, his performance declined as the matches went on. Everyone knew what he was going to do, but unlike Gordon, he wasn’t able to impose it, which Kaynan clearly pointed out in their final.
3. The rules have improved (somewhat).
I quite liked the 75% rule this time around. 75% of the opponent’s back has to touch the mats in order for top position points. Also, you only get back points if you have two hooks (or a triangle) in and 75% of the person’s back.
4. People have no idea how to play turtle.
When the ruleset allows you to go to a position to avoid conceding points, only to get your back taken instead, there’s either something wrong with your strategy or your positioning.
There is a turtle system out there that solves all the problems (or at least the majority of them) that we saw at ADCC 2022. It is called Defensive BJJ, and everyone should check it out.
5. You can still game the system.
Stalling, negative points, forcing decisions… it is still very much a huge part of the ADCC tactics. Like the ruleset, there must be a way to improve on these. For example, while Kaynan Duarte beat Craig Jones fair and square, he got extremely close to losing a fight he was leading 7:0 on points because he had more negative points than positive ones!
There has to be a better way to motivate someone to pass actively rather than hang out in the opponent’s guard, which is what Duarte did.
6. Ffion Davies is legit scary.
Best performance right along with Kade Ruotolo. Slick standing, devastating Judo counters, crispy clean passing, laser-like submissions. Ffion is definitely in her prime and should get many more invites to compete on the biggest stages.
7. MMA takes the focus away.
I don’t know if that is an excuse or true, but we’ve seen it before, and we’re seeing it again. Tonon might think he can waltz in and rely on talent and previous experience, but the fact of the matter is, if you don’t train for ADCC only, others do, and they’ll beat you.
Perhaps it is time for him to focus solely on one thing and excel in it. His last grappling outings did not bring him any glory.
8. Mo Jassim needs to update his mailing list.
Some of the people that we’re seeing ADCC after ADCC should be given a rest. There is so much talent out there, in addition to the trial winners, that there has to be a review of who gets the automatic invites. Some people are simple, not ADCC material.
9. Wrestling doesn’t win fights (anymore).
While good wrestling was a huge advantage before., ADCC 2022 proved that people have improved so much in that department that it is practically like guard now – everyone can wrestle. Stand-up tactics need to change to avoid boring hand-holding for 10 minutes.
10. First-round matches are the best.
I get it, people play it safe and want to win by any means necessary, Still, as a spectator, I found first-round matches a lot more entertaining than those in the semis or finals. The manner of victory supports this, with fewer decision wins in the first round than others.
11. Give the ladies an absolute division and/or more spots.
It is not about political correctness or anything of the sort. It is about entertainment. There’s no way that ADCC after ADCC there are no more than 16 women that are entertaining enough to fight. Give them the same 16-person brackets as men, and an absolute. There’s no need for more weight classes, let’s start there.
10. The future is very, very bright!
The Ruotolos. Giancarlo Bodoni. Amy Campo. Diogo Reis. Mica Galvao. Diego “Pato” Oliveira. Jay Rodriguez. Need I say more?
ADCC 2022 did not disappoint. Ryan made history, as the only person to conquer a weight division and win a superfight in one event. He is also the only one to win three different weight classes, the absolute and a superfight so far. With Kade Ruotolo doubling on that as the youngest ever ADCC champion, it is safe to say that the “Olympics of Grappling” were definitely something we needed to see. I can’t wait to start analyzing fights and try to guess what historical moments the 2024 edition is going to bring.
Ogi is a black belt that does Jiu Jitsu full time and is very passionate about anything grappling-related.
He is also the head coach of Enso Jiu Jitsu in Macedonia and an aspiring Globetrotter.